It goes without saying that technology can be amazing, but at the same time, some aspects of it can be downright scary. The latest example of that comes from Oxford, where a team of researchers have developed "e-DNA", a foolproof solution, they claim, that can single you out on the Internet. Like our real DNA, our e-DNA is composed of many bits of information that makes us truly unique. The kicker? No software has to be installed, and it doesn't matter which computing device you use.
Oxford's researchers consider its e-DNA mechanic, which uses their "biochronometric technology", as impenetrable. In fact, they'd be able to tell if you've taken drugs or had sex, or if you've merely had too many drinks one night. Think about that. They can tell if you've had sex or are drunk simply by how you're using your computer. That's both incredible and frightening.
To its credit, e-DNA's researchers state that they have absolutely no plans to exploit sensitive data on people like that - it merely mentions that it has the capability to notice minor changes because of how accurate it is. Oxford's Adrian Neal says, "Like DNA it is almost impossible to fake, as it is very hard to go online and not be yourself. It is as huge a jump in the amount of information that could be gathered about an individual as the jump from fingerprints to DNA. It is that order of magnitude."
There are a number of useful things that can come from e-DNA, such as prevention of identity theft, a vast reduction in message spam, and potentially, a finer-tuned computing experience. If your PC knows it's you at the chair, it could spawn a number of customization possibilities from the OS to the Internet.
For website owners, this technology would help prevent ad-click skew. It's estimated that 90-92% of ad clicks and 95% of logins are usually from bots, so the benefits here are pretty obvious. Ads aside though, the fact that this technology can easily detect bots could be a huge boon to website owners and users alike - who out there isn't tired of those "My mother makes $XXXX per month" scams that clutter up comment sections?
Of course, while this might sound good on paper, there is of course the potential for exploitation. Oxford is adamant about our e-DNAs being 100% unique to us, but that database of information has to be stored somewhere, and because it is, it runs the risk of being accessed and used. Picture for example a piece of software that specifically loads an e-DNA profile and mimics computer use. If e-DNA is all that's required to log into a bank website, for example, you can probably understand why this is yet another scary thought to toss onto the pile.
Personally, I think we're fine without e-DNA, as impressive as the technology is.
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